The head of my department sent out a message Thursday afternoon telling everybody who didn't have pressing business to take the day, but I had a couple of meetings so went ahead and biked in. The ride in that morning was great, and right after I got in each of my meetings cancelled. I was biking back home just after 9:30.
By then the day had gotten decently warm, and during the ride I concocted a plan: I would go home, grab some cans of paint, stuff them in a pannier, and go back out and mark a route that my bike club plans to use next weekend. I didn't even have to go in the house, and by 10:30 I was headed for the route.
On the way, Max Watzz popped into my head with a question: "How hard should we ride this today?" He was concerned that we would go out of his "recovery threshold" (whatever that means), since he had done "jumps" with my legs the night before.
"I don't know. I guess these are maybe Endurance Miles or Foundation Miles," I told Max. He grumbled something about "muscles only growing when you let them rest."
Then I started thinking about it, though, and I decided that I didn't feel like Endurance Miles or Foundation Miles or Recovery Miles. I decided right then that today's ride was Nothing Miles. There was no training goal for my time on a bicycle -- I was just enjoying a beautiful day in lovely countryside, spraying the road with paint to tell other cyclists which way to turn.
I quickly marked the 12-mile route, and then started off on the 32- and 50-mile routes. I stopped at Black Dog Store in Rudderville to fill my bottle and eat some pretzels, chatting with the folks who were coming and going. "Nice day to be out for a ride," they'd say. "The best," I replied.
Chuck Dunn illustrates the proper way to hang out in front of a store on a ride
There was a nasty headwind going down Arno Road, and then on to Bethesda, but it was more of a crosswind as I headed up Pulltight and on to Peytonsville. Going up towards College Grove it became a full-blown tailwind, and I effortlessly cruised at 30 mph. Stopping at the grocery store in College Grove, I refilled the bottle again and had a mini-chess pie with a Diet Sun Drop, sitting on the bench out front soaking up some sun.
Life don't get much better than that.
While I was sitting there, I started thinking about how nice it would be to win the PowerBall lottery that weekend. With $103 million, I decided that I would buy a huge RV and hire somebody to drive it for me. I would then go riding every day, carrying a couple of bottles and maybe a tube, and a cell phone. I would call the driver of my RV if anything came up, and he could bring it to me or fix whatever was broken, or maybe bust some heads if somebody passed me too closely on a back road.
"Carlton," I would say (I named him Carlton after Rhoda's doorman ... you'd have to be old enough to get the reference), "I need a cold bottle." Or, "Carlton, go on up the road about 10 miles and wait for me there with a Diet Coke and a Moon Pie."
Carlton and I -- and RandoGirl, too, if she wanted to come along -- would go where the weather was nice. We'd summer in Canada and winter in Florida. We would stay at nice hotels and eat good dinners. Carlton would take excellent care of my large stable of superb bicycles, and when I wanted company on a fast training ride or long climb, Carlton could ride with me. He would take long pulls into the wind for me, too.
Of course, I know I'm never going to win the lottery -- statistically speaking, you have better odds of contracting leprosy -- but a guy can dream. As I dreamed more about it, I decided the next best thing would be to find somebody else that had won the lottery and become their Carlton. That wouldn't be too bad, either.
Anyhow, I knew the road wouldn't mark itself, so I soon got back to work. With the tailwind, it only took another couple of hours, and by the time I finished marking everything and biking back home, I had ridden 95 miles for the day.
They were Nothing Miles, but they sure felt like Something Great.